International Exchange: Seoul National University Past Review

By (Business Administration-Management Information Systems, University of Hawaii - Manoa) for

Seoul National University: Seoul - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience abroad is one I will NEVER forget. If I could do it again I have no doubt I would. The only thing I may change is going to a different university that is closer to the nightlife areas, but other than that, I am in LOVE with Seoul! I have been so happy with my experience abroad that I am already considering another trip abroad. I hope to travel to Germany next spring semester and then next summer, I hope to travel back to Korea and work in an internship. Academically, I have actually switched from my plans as a double major in MIS and Entrepreneurship to MIS and International Business instead!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The workload at SNU was quite different than that of my home university. There wasn't as much work to do and the readings weren't necessarily discussed during class, so if you didn't stay on top of the readings and doing exercises on your own, you would have difficulty passing. The teaching methods were not very different from that of my home university. One major flaw I did see though was the ease of passing classes nonetheless. It was well known among all the students that so long as you attend class and take the final, no matter what your grade, you would not fail the class. This evoked much laziness from the internationals.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The Office of International Affairs seemed to be pretty helpful for the most part. Where things got confusing was when there needed to be involvement from the department each student belonged to. Getting the proper forms and signatures from specific departments across campus and then turning the form in at the proper location made things difficult at times. For instance, I did not get my student ID card until half way through the semester because I didn't know what to do and was fed up. Though some processing was difficult, if you simply asked any questions to the staff of the OIA in person or by email, they would respond promptly. However, once you got the paperwork and processing done, the program was actually quite nice. there were many groups and organizations you could join that helped to introduce you to other internationals. Though, if you did not join these groups, it would be very difficult to meet other internationals because the dorms were not separated internationals from locals.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Checking into the dorms was a hassle. Most of the flights from mainland US got into Korea too late to get checked into the dorm before the check in times. If I was not a part of a student organization, I would not have been able to check in since my assigned Buddy was able to pull some strings and get me checked at nearly midnight. I did have to buy sheets, a blanket, and a pillow which I thought was something we should have been notified about before arriving since I had to last a few days by sleeping underneath my coat and using my sweater as a pillow... The amenities were not that great either. The kitchen was continuously filthy, and the shared bathrooms were not always in the best of shape. The dorm room I had was extremely small and cramped, and if it wasn't for the fact that the other internationals were going through the same things, I would have probably gone crazy. As for roommates, all of the internationals had local roommates which for the most of us made it bad. Our roommates would never talk to us and it would be unpleasant to just sit there in awkward silence all the time, so most of us international students spent as much time as possible outside of our rooms. though the dorms were bad, it was still better than living by yourself off campus for the simple reason that you are close with all the other international students. Its not where you live, but the people around you that make it, and being close to all my international friends made my dorm experience bearable.

* Food:

So long as you like Korean food, you would like the food on campus. at times, the food would get tiring to eat all the time, but really, at what university does this not happen? There were plenty of choices around the dorms to eat at, such as Kimbap Heaven and Global House, and not to mention the countless places that deliver to the dorms. As for around the campus, you would have to take a bus to get to any part of the city, which became a hassle. Though if you took the time to get off campus, it was well worth it. There are countless cheap bars and samgyupsal(korean bbq) places as well as any type of korean food you could want. In nakseoungdae there is a small market you can get your blankets and toiletries and fruits and street food. at Seoul National Station/Entrance there is some good chain food store as well as a McDonalds. If you take a quick bus or cab, Nokdu is the cheapest place to drink and get chicken.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Definitely grab a lonely planet book if you want to see some of the more cultural aspects of Korea. The organizations, SNU Buddies and CBA Global(if you are a business student) both schedule multiple events for you to experience some of the culture. Odds are, though, that if you are interested in studying in Korea, you already know that Korea has a strong drinking culture. Therefore, most events end with A LOT of drinking, and you will become very knowledgeable of the party areas such as Hongdae, Sinchon, Gangnam, and Apgujeong. Definitely go see Namsan tower, and at least a temple or two. If you see one temple, you have seen them all. If you really want to see Korea, take the time to go to Busan and Jeju for sure, and there are free bus rides to other areas such as gyeongju and jeongju which are both very well worth it. Korea is a beautiful place with a lot of preserved culture if you take the time to look.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Basically, the school provides cheap healthcare. I think I paid(no joke) 2,000 won which is about $2 American dollars and whenever I got sick, or if I broke anything, I would just go to the clinic on campus where they take care of you and then you take your receipt to the Office of International Affairs and they see fit to reimburse you. And if you didn't pay for the insurance, there are plenty of clinics and pharmacies around each corner in the city where you can be checked out and get cheap medication, which I did do in a past visit.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)


If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you are the type of student who is interested in improving their resume by putting a prestigious school name on it, then do go to Seoul National University. Otherwise, go to another school closer to the heart of the city. Yet, no matter where you go, it is what you make of it, and with a positive outlook and a good group of people, I can GUARANTEE you a fantastic time in Seoul!